SANKOFA the socialist inclined romantic
Initially, this post was intended to be a feminist dialogue about the legitimacy and necessity of political profanity. The power of the femme employing vulgarity - vulgarity as a response to violence, as a response embodying the carnivalesque nature of patriarchal impositions which expect politeness... a level of borderline de-humanising politeness, demanded in the face of oppression. As if politeness and civility can change policy. As if feminine politeness ever stopped wars, as if the nature of that discourse is somehow the obvious and necessary tool which we, modern-day Eve's; you guerrilla girl [s] you, have been neglecting. As if all we needed to do to dismantle patriarchy was politely ask men to stop murdering and r*ping us, dispense of their patriarchal dividends to be replaced with substantive equity. We've employed politeness, and as justified and elaborated on by my profane icon Mona Eltahawy above - a simple and eloquent "fuck you" has an important seat at this table. It has a seat occupying the head of the table (at times) and drags the chair back slowly, scraping against the cold of this systems floor, a song rings out that sounds something like last September when profanity assumes position in my life.
Truly, half the profanity of it all - beneath patriarchy's dense, semi-omnipotent glare is the audacity of a woman to have a political opinion at all. But thanks to digital democracy and many nameless women - we have a platform for those opinions.
So here's my opinion on the Corona Virus in light of the global response... okay wait that sounded a little entitled. I don't think I'm entitled to an opinion on a global health pandemic, which has (and may continue to) cause wide-spread suffering and loss...
All I mean is - here are my thoughts - as Sue Sees It. Please understand that I intend to address this from my perspective. This isn't one fuelled by a need to entertain Western news as centralized in global discourse despite how all frames inform other frames (cc: Deconstructionism). I can, and am only willing, to hold space for perspectives that I have a personal connection with and am well-informed on. That means I'm not holding space for white capitalist men on here... wait I get ahead of myself. (See: the political importance of honesty).
This morning I woke up to a man, in my dms, arguing with me about the legitimacy of late-stage capitalism and Oppenheimer-Rupert money.
Sigh. Deep Sigh.
Okay assuming you don't live under a rock, and given the circumstances that wouldn't be the worst place to be, you know about COVID-19, AKA: 'The Rona', AKA: 'Coco V'. The virus has incited global anxiety, a genderless fear and justifiably so. It has begun to regulate our behaviours, how we enter spaces, our attire in those spaces and our social etiquette. It is the uncertainty of its form and the acute awareness of its presence (and probability) which has begun to regulate our behaviour. Hot take: this global health epidemic is the closest that men have ever come globally to having to succumb to continually regulating their behaviour in response to something out of their control. Woman are used of the incessant presence of patriarchy, undermining our freedoms and regulating our social practises. Welcome to a world where your privileges are unfairly restricted and your behaviour consciously regulated despite your disdain thereof- except that in this instance it's justified.
Despite doing yoga this morning:
and listening to a delightful guided ASMR, which resulted in a much-needed block for someones son:
I'm fucking irritated. I'm so fucking irritated wow. Last night, I ended up hooking up with a capitalist - I mean I should've known this because he's an auditor... I should've read the deep pink flag for what it was but I didn't. So this morning, I inadvertently signed up for an argument. The timing of which couldn't be poorer because I was just establishing a delicious quarantine routine.... but perhaps the timing was perfect because I can discuss this calmly... well semi-calmly.
The argument surrounded this tweet which I commented on and posted on my IG:
The tweet reads " Before you think to applaud the Oppenheimers etc. (i definitely think they shouldn’t be) pls consider that no one should ever be that rich in a world with such inequality especially when that wealth is as a result of advantages due to injustices of the past."- @eraddre
On top of which I wrote "This is genuinely a time to re-think the romanticism surrounding billionaires and how wealth is accumulated - and at the expense of whom. Unless you're a BA student, in which case I know you've been been thinking about this".
To which, the handsome auditor replied "Hmmmm".
Now, at this point I had hoped that he had begun to ponder:
- The political wonder of this chess move made by The Stellenbosch Mafia. Politically, this move has Olivia Pope's fingerprints all over it. Don't be weird and take offence, my beloved homegirl fell in love with a republican - she probably would've been involved with some shit like this. But I digress. The choice to publicly donate 1 billion rand - reads to the general public as an act of profound patriotism. A move to be lauded as heroic and aligned with national concerns... It looks to be nationally beneficial. Two of the biggest Apartheid profiteers have managed to present themselves as staunch stewards of the South African agenda - and it is impressive. It would be idiotic to recklessly deny the very evident economic necessity of their donation - through the capitalist lens this is an answered Hail Mary. Through the humanitarian lens? questionable.
- Why I was awake so early
- The dangers of a militarized state... I always wondered where they went... The foot soldiers of one of the most militarized states in the world. How did an entire military regime dissolve so quietly... well relatively quietly (cc: Die Broderbond/ Orania) into the fabric of a democratic society. Turns out they dissolved quietly into parents in the households of some of my classmates' homes. This nation has known intense militarization and for once, the deployment thereof reads as necessary. A response, not reliant on or referential to the old Apartheid regime's (cc: FMF militarization), but reliant upon a utilitarian desire for national well being. A drive to safeguard our most vulnerable bodies: the immobile poor, our working-class left without access to the privilege of self-isolation, both economically and spatially. Our immuno-compromised bodies; those living with HIV/AIDS or TB. The elderly. A wise governmental strategy to deter the rapid escalation of new infections, of which a 40% increase was reported in less than a week. This has been a wise decision - but it would be negligent and remiss of my positionality to delude myself into thinking that crimes won't be committed beneath the mandate of securing national stability. This isn't cynicism ripened by cabin fever, simply look to the horrors perpetrated by government-sanctioned malita beneath: Apartheid, the UN troops deployment, Vietnam est. More often than not, violence is exacted against the societally vulnerable: WOC, disabled bodies, children and queer bodies. In a state ravaged by femicide, I can't help but wonder about the safety of vulnerable bodies - and I'm not alone in my worries.
- When he would see me again
- The stupidity of stockpiling - when the shops will still be open during the lockdown. Moreover, how stockpiling is an exercise in economic privilege. You can only afford to stockpile if you don't live hand to mouth. Behaving with ignorance towards the reality that majority of our country live in circumstances dictated to by poverty and continuing to stockpile - demonstrates not only a reckless amorality but a kind of individualism that contributes to communist sentiments about eating the rich (lol). Stockpiling is a dangerous act of selfishness and is easily visually demonstrated by the film, "The Platform" - which I can thank the auditor for showing me. It's on Netflix.
- People who live in violent homes or the mentally ill - quarantine isn't an inherently abundant experience for all. For the woman who are going to battle diet culture and fatphobia, to those who face fears of abandonment - you are seen. You are valid. This won't last forever.
- How domestic workers deserve paid leave - don't be a dick.
The auditor enquired after the root of my upset. How could I critique a necessary donation? And if my critique was governed by a distaste towards white billionaires. These aren't unfair questions... or unwarranted asks.
And my answer is this:
Capitalism is governed by individualism and enlightenment thought. Meaning, the idea of Apartheid profiteers donating money to secure national stability out of the goodness of their hearts is laughable. Corona Virus has marked a visible deficit in the global economy and the South African economy. The choice of these billionaires to donate this money is in their best interest - an obvious point which cannot be overlooked as it feeds into my second point. The existence of billionaires, in a country whose wide-spread capitalism was established on the economic exclusion of POC and WOC (despite compromising the majority of the population) from industry for 400years during colonialism, and 50 during Apartheid - is unethical. The Oppenheimer-Rupert oligarchy continues to exist through the bounty of systemic exclusion - this money is maintained through the continued use of long-standing economic channels. I find it absurd that this glaringly obvious point is being dismissed in discourse around Oppenheimer-Rupert heroism. I find it even more absurd, given the fact that there exists now an expectation of gratitude: how are we expecting a performance of gratitude for the donation of money which was unethically generated? The most obvious question to me now rests in this train of thought: how have the Rupert-Oppenheimer Clan been allowed to operate outside the ambit of collectivist accountability, given their continued operation in a country ravaged by abject poverty. How, have they only been negotiated with now?? To branch out from this thought - there then exists the reality that billionaires only exist, in the eco-system of capitalism, as a result of unskilled labour and abject poverty.
This donation marks a bold change in the political landscape of our country, as capitalism has demonstrated itself to be globally fallible to the mortality of its employees. Employees who are treated with little regard by industry, and now function as essential bodies in the work force (i.e. nurses, shop-keepers est)- demonstrating what socialists have known all along... industry only exists as a result of functional labour (skilled and unskilled). The humanitarian needs of which have been neglected until now. Late-stage capitalism has shown its ass - and despite this occurrence, the generous donation by the Oppenheimer-Rupert sector has re-affirmed a governmental commitment to a system which has too obviously failed them. This donation serves as a symbolic commitment to the continued acceptance of the existence of the Oppenheimer-Rupert Oligarchy - except now they're no longer shrouded by speculation and he stench of colonialism... they're national heroes. My speculations? The Oppenheimer-Rupert Klan negotiated themselves out of attending to taxes for the next half-century in all likelihood and in this likelihood, there exists the horrifying potential of another generation of Oppenheimer-Ruperts inheriting this fortune at the cost of the working classes human rights once more.
Well there it is, the bold profanity of centring humanitarian concerns in the long-run.
This period, of quarantine and national lockdown, has already begun to usher in a Romantic notion of refuge in nature and the sublime. For once, it's not just the immobile poor, queer bodies, WOC, POC, indigenous land stewards, socialists, woman and communists who are in an out-cry about the fallibility of capitalism - for once the capitalists too exist in a state of outrage.... okay realistically subtle, quiet contemplation.
Anyways, in a state of hyper-awareness and morbidity - I wish on you all simple joys, peaceful homes and good health. Delicious sunsets and gratitude towards the privilege of self-isolation. Let this be a time of intention and a time of reflection.
P.S. I'm not advocating for a radical upend of the economy globally, I just think great danger exists in the neglect of critical thinking during this time. Also the auditor is a wonderful person we're just v v different but we actually came to a mutual understanding. Also Cyril has demonstrated admirable leadership during this time and I feel grateful to have a responsive President - who has employed sound logic in order to steward our nation.